It’s a mostly-quiet week in Concord for school-choice legislation; one bill has a public hearing in the senate. Homeschoolers are encouraged to review the proposed changes to Ed 315, the rules that govern home education, and get in touch with the Home Education Advisory Council (HEAC) before their meeting on April 25th; more information below.
With your help, we successfully neutralized eminent threats to the Education Tax Credit (ETC) scholarship program, HB 632 and SB 318. Unfortunately, there remain efforts underway in the legislature to end or weaken the ETC program. We continue to watch for these bills, or something like them, to be tacked on to other legislation. We must remain vigilant over the next few months of the session to protect the ETC program and #SaveOurScholarships. We compiled extensive information about the ETC scholarships regarding the background of NH’s program, how they work, constitutional issues, and media coverage – one-stop reading!
We are monitoring numerous bills this year and those include our analysis and commentary. Legislators’ contact information is at the end.
You are also invited to a special presentation by Kerry McDonald, outspoken blogger for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) and Intellectual Takeout, policy advisor to the Heartland Institute, and author of the newly-published book titled “Unschooling: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom.” She will talk about educational opportunities at the Nackey Loeb Communications School in Manchester on Tuesday, May 14th, 2019. Tickets are available here and must be pre-purchased; tickets will not be sold at the door. Copies of Kerry’s book are also available for pre-purchase and must be picked up at the event. We are also offering an optional Meet-and-Greet with Kerry prior to her presentation with very limited availability. Reserve your tickets today!
Public hearings are the best opportunity to communicate with committee members and share your opinion. The Legislative Office Building (LOB) is located immediately behind the State House at 33 N. State Street in Concord. For Senate hearings, sign the white sheet on a side table just inside the door to indicate your support or opposition for a bill, and if you intend to speak. The protocol is a little different in the House. The public may sign the blue sheet near the room entrance to indicate support or opposition to any bill; fill out a pink card if you intend to speak. If possible, provide written copies for each member plus the committee secretary. Generally, committee chairmen limit remarks to three minutes or less. Personal stories are most effective. If you are unable to attend hearings, email the committee, or better yet, call members individually. Indicate if you are a constituent.
Bills may have an executive session any time after the public hearing. This is when the committee discusses and votes on legislation, and amendments may be introduced. The committee makes one of three recommendations: Inexpedient to Legislate (ITL) which is to kill the bill; Ought to Pass (OTP) which is a recommendation to support the bill; or to send it to Interim Study (IS) which is to continue work on the bill. Committee recommendations are very influential when the entire chamber votes. Consequently, prompt action on legislation is highly recommended.
Once bills are exec’d, they are usually scheduled for a vote by the entire body soon after. This is when all members of the House or Senate will vote YEA (to support the committee’s recommendation) or NAY (to oppose the recommendation). When the House and Senate have sessions, we list all the bills we are following, even if they are on the Consent Calendars, because they may be pulled and individually voted on or a floor amendment may be introduced. Contact your legislators before the session day with brief, polite messages and mention you are a constituent.
Legislators’ contact information is at the end of this article.
TUESDAY, APRIL 23, 2019: SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE, ROOM 103, LOB
Public hearings for the following bills
This bill is similar to last year’s HB 1432 and HB 916 (2008), both of which were voted Inexpedient to Legislate. This bill seeks to impose redundant nondiscrimination requirements on private schools that they must already satisfy per federal laws. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and numerous Supreme Court decisions state that no private school may discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin. To do so would jeopardize their IRS non-profit status. Private schools must also follow Title IX of the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Employment Opportunity’s requirement re nondiscrimination on the basis of gender for hiring practices, unless the institution is religious-affiliated. There are also protections for students with special needs. Per the Americans with Disabilities Act, nonpublic schools must provide “auxiliary aids and services” to children with special needs if they are otherwise qualified for admission or if “minor adjustments” allows the student to participate in the private school’s program. The ADA already is applicable to private schools if they receive public funds. Religious schools are exempt from these ADA laws unless they receive federal dollars. Currently many private schools receive federal funds, particularly Title 1 money. Also, it would set a dangerous precedent for undue regulation of nonpublic schools.
9:15 a.m. HB 435, relative to certain terminology in the rulemaking authority of the department of education.
9:30 a.m. HB 447, relative to school calendar days.
9:45 a.m. HB 448, making technical corrections in the department of education.
10:15 a.m. HB 652, relative to suicide prevention.
EXECUTIVE SESSION MAY FOLLOW
THURSDAY, APRIL 25, 2019: HOME EDUCATION ADVISORY COUNCIL (HEAC) at 3:30pm
Department of Education, Londergan Hall, room 12, 101 Pleasant Street, Concord
This is a special meeting of the Home Education Advisory Council to discuss proposed changes to Ed 315 as requested by the Commissioner. The public is welcome to attend. Read more about the council’s work in HEAC Addresses Ed 315 and Multiple Long-Standing Issues.
CONTACT INFO for LEGISLATORS
To find your NH senator, and his or her contact information, refer to the senate’s roster page.
To find your Representatives, go to “Who’s My Legislator?” Brief and polite phone calls and emails are effective, especially if you mention you are a constituent.
The lists of education committee members with their contact information are available here. Brief phone calls are most effective; personal stories can be particularly compelling. Mention if you are a constituent.
The Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee list is below.
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The House Education Committee list is below. A list of the committee members’ emails is below the table for an easy copy/paste.
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